SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
MAY 13, 2018
ST. JOHN 15:26
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
ST. JOHN 15:26
When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father—he will testify about me. ENGLISH HERITAGE VERSION 2017
One more time this Easter we listen to Jesus on the night He was instituted His Holy Supper. Today we hear Jesus telling His apostles that He would send His Counselor to testify about Him after He ascended into heaven.
Who is the Holy Spirit and what does He do? In some circles the Holy Spirit is not just a Counselor who comforts us with Jesus' promises that our sins are washed away in Baptism; some Christians go further. They view Him as the One who can give them extra information beyond what the Holy Scripture says. They can get special insight from the Holy Spirit, they think, if they can carefully watch for signs from God in their lives. These clues will help them solve puzzles in their lives: where to go to college, what career to pursue, who to marry, where to live.
For example, a mother tries to discern the will of God by looking for clues when she and her husband are trying to decide whether to have more children. When that new baby is colicky for months, she might be tempted to think she had misinterpreted the clues the Holy Spirit had given her. In this case, she had seen four minivans with those families stickers on the back … in a row! (Okay, the last one was on a different day, but it was the first car she saw on that day.)
These puzzles of life can be difficult, but as Lutherans ought to know, no matter which path we take, the journey is going to bring the good and the bad. Our blessed task as God's children is not to uncover hidden clues from God, but to listen His revealed word.
This is the work of the Spirit and He has done it well. The Holy Book that is too often not in our hands is the inspired Word of God. The Holy Spirit testifies about Jesus Christ through the Holy Bible and Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. These are places and ways in which the Holy Spirit puts the Words of Jesus into our ears, and upon our heads, and into our mouths. He says that we are going to be okay no matters what happens because He keeps us in the one true faith. This is the promise you hear when receiving the living body and blood of Christ, He strengthens and preserves you in the one true faith unto life everlasting. And then you depart in peace to go and live in our lives.
And we live our lives according to the Spirit, who testifies today is probably the Day when Jesus will return—the end of all things is near—and that we ought to
1 PETER 4: 7–11
have sound judgment and be self-controlled for the sake of your prayers. Above all, love each other constantly, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Serve one another, each according to the gift he has received, as good stewards of the many forms of God’s grace. If anyone speaks, let him do it as one speaking the messages of God. If anyone serves, let him do it as one serving with the strength God supplies so that God may be glorified in every way through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
The Holy Spirit testifies about Christ and the lives we have now because of Him. To try and find extra words from Him is to miss Jesus Christ.
It is like a child who had heard his mother tell him to make his bed every day for the last seventeen months. Yet he still thinks that there is some special clue that she is putting out there, something that means messy beds are fine. Instead the kid should listen to his dad who says, “Listen to your mother.”
Our heavenly Father has sent His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ to suffer and die to be completely punished for our disobedience and pride. And now the Son has sent His Holy Spirit to testify that our disobedience and pride has been forgiven. And by the Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life, He creates His bride and our mother, the Holy Christian Church, where we are given re-birth by the Holy Words of the Holy Spirit.
Next Sunday we celebrate the birthday of the New Testament Church on the Day of Pentecost. This Church will endure until the end of all things. I know this not because of some special clue or sign from God, but He told us:
ST. MATTHEW 28:20B
And surely I am with you always until the end of the age.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
In Jesus' Name. Amen.
God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Thanks be to God!
Pastor Boehringer has been preaching Christ and Him crucified to himself and to his congregation at Gethsemane since 2009.